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Florida spends big on biotech

Two new deals show the state is in a league of its own when it comes to subsidies

By | September 7, 2006

Florida is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into luring biotech institutions with public subsidies, easily outpacing its rivals. In the latest phase of its biotech buying spree, the state has announced that the Burnham Institute for Medical Research of La Jolla, California, will be expanding to a new Orlando campus with the help of $310 million worth of state and local incentives, while the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, also based in La Jolla, will open a facility in Port St. Lucie in return for $80 million worth of state and local incentives. A leading proponent in the Florida legislature, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, believes publicly financed incentives are a good use of the state's budget surplus and a necessary investment. "There is an enormous amount of competition with other states," he told The Scientist. "Florida will see a huge return on that amount of money over the next 10 to 20 years." However, some observers caution that it will take more than wooing individual institutions to turn the state into a biotech hub. "There's this sort of naïve belief on the part of some folks in Florida that if you get a research institute from San Diego to set up a campus in your community, you'll generate another San Diego," industry analyst Joe Cortright told The Scientist. In a report for the Brookings Institution, Cortright pointed out that while basic biotech research is done in many places, commercialization is highly concentrated in a handful of cities, including San Francisco, Boston and San Diego. By contrast, Orlando and Port St. Lucie have almost no biotech infrastructure. Still, with the new deals, Florida has now reeled in three California biotech powerhouses. In 2003, the Scripps Research Institute announced it would build a new facility in Palm Beach County and reap some $500 million in incentives, including state and federal funds. California is preparing to dole out some $3 billion dollars worth of stem cell research grants to academic institutions and biotech companies, but unlike the Florida incentives, the money is not intended to bankroll new facilities or subsidize moves by out-of-state companies. "It's not at all clear that there's a bidding war going on, unless it's Florida bidding against itself," Cortright said. Patricia Ardigo, a real estate consultant who has worked with Florida counties on aspects of the Scripps and Burnham development proposals, agrees that while other states have some incentives in place for biotech institutions, the deals are nothing like what Florida offers. "These are pretty unique instances. There's not that many institutions like these that you are going to be seeing wooed in other directions. I think it was just an aggressive effort on Florida's part," Ardigo told The Scientist. She added, however, that Florida will need to follow through with the development of new medical schools and attract companies that commercialize biotech discoveries in order to reap the full benefits of the incentive deals given to Burnham, Scripps and Torrey Pines. Burnham Institute spokesperson Nancy J. Beddingfield acknowledges that the financial incentives were a major pull toward Florida. "Close to a third of a billion dollars -- $310 million -- it's hard not to accept that," she told The Scientist. But she stressed that other factors were also at play, including the state's commitment to build a new medical school adjacent to the Burnham Institute facility and a strong overall commitment to higher education. The deal requires Burnham to create at least 300 high-paying jobs at the facility to be built near the Orlando airport. The institute has about 750 employees in California. Its $90 million annual budget consists almost entirely of competitive grants won by researchers. Andrew Holtz holtzreport@juno.com Links within this article Governor Bush Welcomes Burnham Institute to Florida 2006-08-23 http://www.flgov.com/release/8093 The Burnham Institute for Medical Research http://www.burnham.org/ The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies http://www.tpims.org/employment.asp Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, http://www.flsenate.gov/Legislators/index.cfm?Members=View+Page&LastName=Fasano&District_Num_Link=011&Title=%2D%3ESenate%2D%3EFasano%2C%20Mike&Submenu=1&Tab=legislators&chamber=Senate Joe Cortright www.impresaconsulting.com Signs of Life: The Growth of Biotechnology Centers in the U.S. http://www.brookings.edu/es/urban/publications/biotech.htm Scripps Research Institute www.scripps.edu Charles Q. Choi, "Scripps on the Atlantic," The Scientist, October 14, 2003. http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21686/ Ivan Oransky, "California OKs stem cell measure," The Scientist, November 3, 2004. http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22478/ Patricia Ardigo http://www.cbre.com/usa/us/ct/stamford/pprofile/PatriciaArdigo State Board Of Governors Approves UCF Med School http://news.ucf.edu/UCFnews/index?page=article&id=002400410774959e30109f4453599007871

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Avatar of: Dick Glick

Dick Glick

Posts: 2

September 7, 2006

Hello --\n \nWant to know what Florida should do if it 'really wanted to break new scientifically based energy ground? Even if you don't -- take a look at this -- I only need about $12 million for the 30,000 acre project described below!\n \nI've been actively pursuing renewable energy since 1979 -- even doing sustainable things when I directed the FSU Institute for Future -- just "ahead of my time" -- but didn't belong in Chemistry -- my colleagues thought -- and how wrong they were. Anyway - this is a copy of a recent email sent on a request for more information as to what I'm involved in:\n \nThere is a special need for relatively expensive farm harvester as an example, the Claas Harvester, as shown on one of our web pages. The economy of scale is very large as a result of this and several other farm related costs. I've tried small and it's time for the next stage.\n \nMy Florida preference, as a start, is to use some 30,000 acres of reclaimed clay settling lands in Polk County, FL. Our rental there is $10/acre-yr. We have shown that we can do all the planting, from seed, then to harvest with shredding and delivery to digestor -- here's where I'll go no further. On clay in Polk County we can get leucaena at 25 ton-dry/acre-yr with each dry-ton providing 7.4 MCF equivalents -- 7.4 million BTU per dry-ton/yr. \n \nAt today's delivered to pipeline in FL price -- $6/MCF -- the gas is worth $33.3 million. Each dry-ton produces 1.5 wet-ton of compost -- worth at a minimum $15/ton yielding, annually, $16.9 million and, since Florida does not have indigenous CO2 -- food grade @ $40/ton -- and there is a need for 500 ton/day -- the CO2 yield is roughly 1/3 ton per dry ton of feedstock -- or $10 million annually. As you well know, there are many costs inherently included in the overall circumstance -- but I'm very confident that methane can be produced at less than $2/MCF. \n \n And there is at a minimum 250,000 acres of phosphate related, not valuable by existing measures, in the Polk County region of Florida. It's the best place to start as the land, by real measure, is worthless.\n \nMy problem then is size and to convince the right organization to make the proper investment. Our best potential, and I've tried, is Cargill -- but they're as tough to deal with as they come.\n \nBest, Dick \nDick Glick, PhD\nPresident\nCorporation For Future Resources\n1909 Chowkeebin Court\nTallahassee, Florida 32301\nPhone: 850-942-2022\n\nFax: 850-942-1967\nEmail: dglickd@pipeline.com\nURL: http://www.CorpFutRes.com\nhttp://wire0.ises.org/entry.nsf/E?Open&project&00031306\n\n \nCorporation for Future Resources (CFR) ? Florida Biomass Renewable Projects\n\n \n\nCFR introduces the concept of ?Green Preserves? ? agriculture devoted to the production of plant substances, that without burning, contribute to Florida?s overall environment needs, including efficient, generalized, energy production and use. By definition, ?Green Preserves? must be differentiated from ?Green Reserves? the latter being ?green space left untouched overtime?, ?Green Preserves? involve:\n\n1. Rapidly growing ?Greens? \n\na. ?Green Solar? reduces heat by photosynthetic conversion of light into plant substance \n\nb. Net absorb carbon dioxide ? \n\nc. Transpiration increases water movement and lowers temperature as net evaporation is an endothermic process ? \n\nd. Plants assist in cleaning air particulates by capturing and retaining pollutants \n\ne. Appropriate ?Greens? prevent water runoff\n\n2. Preserve ?Green Space? \n\na. Define acceptable regions of development \n\nb. Require developers to include, not necessarily contingent, ?Green Preserves? to balance effects of development \n\n i. Afford improved environmental conditions for regions of development\n\n ii. Modulate climate and effects of climatic disasters\n\n \n\nBelow, is an example of the use of bio-renewables, grown specifically for energy and other renewable purposes that underscore that ?Florida Renewables Resources? are substantially different than those found elsewhere in the U.S. Although renewable ?natural gas? is featured, additional energy considerations involving the energy content of compost-fertilizer, the energy cost of transporting liquid carbon dioxide, etc., should be added to the overall energy efficiency equation. \n\n \n\nAs an example of a CFR Biomass Renewable Project proven to be possible in Florida ? specifically agri-renewals agriculture -- Facts: \n\n1. CFR?s agricultural interests are in phosphate lands in Polk County Florida \n\na. There are approximately 250,000 acres in this category \n\nb. These lands ? in very large majority can not be used for other than\n\n i. Agricultural purposes\n\n ii. Than crops specifically grown to not require an exact harvest time\n\n1. The crop of interest satisfying this harvest consideration have been studied by CFR\n\n2. The study includes; planting, growing, harvesting-processing and transporting the crop\n\n2. CFR?s proprietary conversion technology is a subset of: \n\na. Methanogenic anaerobic fermentation ? producing biogas ? a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide\n\n i. Generally this process is used on waste materials\n\n ii. There may be a many as ten million examples of the technology on micro-scale in Asia (China, India, Nepal, etc.)\n\n iii. There are reported to be 3,000 examples of manure conversion systems in Germany and more such small scale systems in Europe and North America including the U. S.\n\n iv. There are numerous examples of the technology in waste water treatment plants throughout the world\n\n v. There are numerous examples of the technology at relatively large scale in waste related plants, mostly in Europe\n\n vi. Landfill gas production is an example of the process\n\n vii. The process occurs whenever biomass is found ? say at a soil depth of 8 inches ? under anaerobic conditions ? fermentation of rice straw is a very large contributor to this process\n\n viii. The process occurs under anaerobic conditions in swamps\n\n ix. As an interesting example in Florida, Tropicana in Bradenton uses an interesting variant of the process ? appropriate for ? sugar water solutions ? the ?Bacardi Process? ? to produce the energy used in their glass manufacturing\n\n \n\nCFR?s technology energy production will be contrasted with the production of petroleum in Florida, consider:\n\n1. A 2001 report indicated that Florida produces 13,000 barrels of petroleum per day\n\na. At 5.6 million BTU/barrel\n\nb. Florida?s production of oil contains (raw)\n\n i. 5.6 x 13,000 = 72,800 million BTU \n\n ii. The energy equivalent of 72,800 MCF of natural gas\n\n2. CFR?s equivalent energy production on Polk County phosphate lands can be achieved on use of 150,000 acres of the 250,000 acres under the following conditions (as a general reference see: www.CorpFutRes.com): \n\na. Leucaena (a giant, leguminous member of the mimosa family) is the agri-renewables resource \n\nb. CFR?s planting, growing, harvesting-processing strategy is employed \n\nc. Anaerobic fermentation is used as the conversion method to produce daily\n\n i. 72,960 MCF of methane \n\n ii. 2784 ton of carbon dioxide\n\n iii. 6480 ton of compost-fertilizer (60% solids)\n\n iv. Neither gases nor liquids are emitted to the environment\n\n3. Under July 2003 market conditions, the value of the methane is equivalent to the valued of the daily production of petroleum \n\na. There is a market in Florida for at least 500 ton of the carbon dioxide ? liquid and food grade ? minimum market price @ $40/ton fob ? the market could substantially increase if supercritical carbon dioxide were to become the universal standard for dry cleaning purposes \n\nb. There is a market for all of the compost-fertilizer ? minimum market price @ $15/ton fob \n\nc. Significant carbon credits can be sold ? carbon dioxide sequestered from compost and net of atmospheric extraction in excess of 3.65 million tons annually + roots that might increase this total by at least 20%. \n\n4. CFR?s estimate of overall capital costs returned in 7 months ? including overall O & M.\n\n \n\nIn summary, CFR?s ?Green Preserve?:\n\n \n\n1. Provides an inexpensive, reliable supply of methane (natural gas) for direct use or the production of electricity or other energy uses.\n\n2. Availability of local labor force encourages industrial development and economic growth.\n\n3. Use of locally produced renewable, clean burning fuel reduces import of expensive fossil fuels.\n\n4. Provides new jobs through facility operations and maintenance and through increased utilization of agricultural land.\n\n5. Provides increased agricultural revenues through long-term plantings for feedstock, increased revenue per acre for existing plantings, and recovery and sale of harvest residues.\n\n6. Better utilizes available crop residues to minimize adverse environmental impact of burning of waste or crop harvest residues\n\n7. Reduces the greenhouse effects of methane released into the atmosphere by decomposition of tilled crops\n\n8. Generates natural soil amendment anaerobic fertilizer-compost high in slow-released nitrogen that retards soil moisture evaporation, provides natural herbicide qualities and can be used repeatedly on crops with no adverse effects\n\n9. Reduces or eliminates the use of other fertilizers by partial or complete substitution of anaerobic compost as well as reducing the cost per acre to fertilize crops\n\n10. Reduces harmful environmental runoff effects associated with continued use of chemical fertilizers through the compost?s ability to localize and minimize the amounts of required plant nutrients\n\n11. Provides, with nominal capital investment, a significant quantity of locally produced carbon dioxide for beverages, food processing or other industry applications\n\n \n\nAlthough Florida farmland acreage has diminished over the past 20 years of so, (see, below), there may be as much as ½ of Florida?s farmlands available to be set aside as ?Green Preserves? or land to produce 2.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day or 0.885 trillion cubic feet per year ? 14 % of the natural gas available in the Gulf of Mexico.\n\n \n\nCensus of Agriculture Florida Land in Farms (acres) \n\n(http://www.farmlandinfo.org/fic/states/florida.html)\n\n1997\n 1992\n 1987\n 1982\n \n10,454,217\n 10,766,077\n 11,194,090\n 12,814,216\n \n \n \n

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